Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Never Forget a Face

I noticed this Flying Geese quilt top on theRocky Mountain Quilts webpage the other day. I recognized an old friend immediately.

I had this top photographed for my 1989 book
Clues in the Calico

A detail is on the title page.

Another photo on page 56 is captioned:

"Flying Geese, unfinished quilt top. Maker unknown. Estimated date 1825-1850..The triangular 'geese' are a wonderful flock of mid-century prints. Note the printed plaid, the madder-style prints of red-orange and brown, the yellow-orange,(probably chrome orange) prints, and the printed ginghams, the ... rainbow prints...The setting strips are a printed plaid with the characteristic cloudy green found in many mid-century quilts."

I've seen a lot more quilts since 1989. I'd change that caption today to give an estimated date for 1840-1860. Betsy at Rocky Mountain Quilts has it dated at circa 1845. 

Those rainbow or fondu prints were extremely popular for women's clothing and quilts after 1840.

As were those large printed or woven plaids.
By 1860 they were old-fashioned
but pieces may have remained in the scrap bag for
several years.

See the quilt top here:

And read other posts I've done on rainbow or fondu prints.

Here's a preview of Clues in the Calico:


  1. Wow, what a story! I really am drawn not only to the quilts, but those faces...

  2. I always enjoy knowing the stories and history behind the quilts, patterns and fabrics. It is like being surrounded by all the woman of the past, as I work on a reproduction quilt.


  3. I notice you are now changing the dating info....yet we who own your wonderful book are using the original information to erroneously date old quilts and other textiles. Have you ever considered doing a revised version of "Clues"? I'd be one of the first in line to buy it!


  4. I can not view or download your Size Matters pattern from yesterday. Any hints?
    Linda L. in Texas

  5. I also cannot downloaf your pattern from yesterday.

  6. I am unable to work the link. I love reading your books!

  7. Sometimes I wonder if someone will ever try to date one of my quilts by looking at the fabric from my vintage stash.

  8. Long before I got into quilting, I bought a quilt similar to this one at a local auction that was done in red, white, and blue. It was worn and had a couple of small holes but nothing extensive as far as damage is concerned. I sold it on eBay to someone in Australia who was very happy to get it, especially for very little money. Had I realized what I had I would have kept it, but it didn't "sing" to me so I was able to let it go. I'd look at it more closely now if I had it to do over. Lesson learned...

  9. Help! How can I download your Moda Size Matters Block? The link isn't working. Thanks...ps LOVE YOUR STUFF!!